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tv   1944 Film A Challenge to Democracy  CSPAN  February 20, 2015 8:00pm-8:21pm EST

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f states used it as roosevelt's primary prisoner exchange. it was the center of roosevelt's prisoner exchange program. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q & a. time now for "american history tv" prime time. this is a special showing of programs normally seen weekends here on c-span 3. ahead, a look at japanese internment during world war ii. we begin with real america and a 1944 documentary on the living conditions that internment camps. and then lectures in history with a course on how the press handled the japanese internment. that will be followed by an american art factyifacts program. and later, former congressman norman minetta who was in a camp with his family. each week, american history
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tv's reel america brings you archival films that help tell the story of the 20th century. on february 19th 1942, roosevelt issued executive order 9066 leading to a forced relocation and internment of over 100,000 people of japanese ancestry who lived on the west coast of the u.s. about 62% of the internees were american citizens. a challenge to democracy from 1944 is a 20-minute war relocation authority film which attempts to justify the policy by showing the internment process and living conditions in the camps sometimes admitting there were problems but frequently glossing over the many negative aspects of forced relocation.
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to wartime communities. established in out of the way places. but ordered to reduce a military hazard at a time when invasion was great. 2/3 of the evacuees are american citizens by right of birth. the rest are the japanese born parents and grandparents. they are not under suspicion, they are not prisoners, not internees. they are merely dislocated people.
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the place ten different relocation centers in unsettled parts of california, arizona, utah, idaho, wyoming, colorado, and arkansas. the relocation centers are supervised by the war relocation authority which assumed responsibility for the people after they had been evacuated and cared for temporarily by the army. they the relocation center. housing from 7,000 to 18,000 people. divided into compartments. 12 or 14 residence buildings to a block. each block provided with a mess hall, bathhouse, laundry building, and recreation halls. about 300 people to a block. the entire community bounded by a wire fence and guarded by military police. symbols of the military nature of the evacuation. each family upon ail rival at a relocation center was assigned to a single room compartment about 20 by 25 feet.
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barren, unattractive a lightbulb, cots, mattresses blankets. those were the things provided by the government. the family's own furniture was in storage on the west coast. scrap lumber perhaps some wall board and a great deal of energy, curtains, pictures, drapes, depending on the family's own ingenuity and taste helped make the place livable. some families built partitions to provide privacy others took what they received and made the best of it. the 300 or so residents of the blocks eat in a mess hall, cafeteria style. rough wooden tables with attached benches. the food is nourishing, but simple. a maximum of 45 cents a day per person is allowed for food. and the actual cost is considerably less than this for an increasing amount of the food is produced at the centers.
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a combination of oriental dishes. and of american type dishes to satisfy those born in america. lands that have never been occupied or farmed were chosen for most of the relocation centers. most of the land was covered with desert goat or with timber in the case of the arkansas centers. it had to be cleared before farming could start. then it had to be leveled and irrigation ditches laid out or rebuilt in order that the people could produce a part of their own food. then came the plowing and preparation of the soil and planting. a few of the centers had crops in 1942. in 1943, all of them. about half of the evacuated people were farm folk, skilled producers of vegetables, fruits and other crops. they had made desert lands
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productive before and around the relocation centers, they could and did do it again. by the application of hard work and water for irrigation. at the two centers in arkansas they have introduced western type irrigation and succeeded in producing vegetables in the heat of mid summer when ordinary production methods are not successful. tomatoes peppers, cucumbers, corn, melon and many other crops have been growing on land that a year or two years ago was unproductive. food production is aimed at self-support for the relocation centers. it does not go on to the open market. from the field it goes to the center warehouse. it may go to the kitchen or may be shipped to other centers. the arizona centers are most productive in winter. it takes many others to handle
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food in the warehouses in transportation, in the kitchens. trucks cars tractors it takes mechanics and machinists. water mains have to be laid and repaired. provides lumber for construction and firewood for heating. $12 a month for beginners. $16 a month for most of the workers and $19 for professional people such as doctors and others on skilled or difficult work. the workers also receive a small cash allowance for clothing. the money received is wages led to an squee buy the things he needs not provided by the government. but most have had to draw on their savings to live as they would like to.
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and the merchandise which would be needed in any community. also run barbershops, repair shops and other services for the community. when the school bell rings it's a signal for these students in wyoming to change classes. the school curriculum meets the standard of the state where the center is located. mathematics american history geography, the fundamentals of an american education. this is a class in mathematics. and a rhythm class of fifth grade pupils. in the modern school many subjects are added to reading, writing and arrhythmiaithmeticarithmetic. some are caucasian, some are evacuees. americans of japanese ancestry. the first graders in this class taught by an evacuee teacher are
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making colored drawings which will decorate the walls of the classroom. the same kind of beautifully clumsy drawings that can be found in almost any first grade room. in the high school vocational training gets plenty of attention. scientific farming, studied in school and in the field. and older boys are learning trades. they use them first as part of the regular work of the relocation center as welders, mechanics, machinists, frequently learning to do the necessary jobs in the relocation center have led to better jobs outside. health protection is part of the obligation presumed by the government, evacuee doctors and nurses serve in the hospital under the supervisor of caucasians caucasians.
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about like that of any other american community in wartime. barely adequate. the evacuees have a form of community self-government which aids in administrative of the community. a community council of evacuees is elected to make rules and regulations. anyone 18 years old or older is eligible to vote in the election which are carried on in the democratic manner. a judicial commission sits in judgment on minor offenses. attorneys among the evacuees represent the prosecution and the defense. a serious crime would be tried in the regular court outside the center. the crime rate among people of japanese ancestry in the united states always has been extremely low. and this has proved to be the case in the centers.
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after working hours over weekends, a relocation center is the center of baseball games and softball games by the dozen. the teams are counted by the hundreds. the evacuees have provided practically all of their own equipment. little government money has been spent for strictly recreational purposes. in the fall, touch football is in season. and more quiet forms of recreation. preparations include carrying the benches into the bar rack building. most of the alien japanese are booted. but almost half of the american born children belong to some christian denomination. catholic, methodist presbyterian, except for involving emperor worship, there's no restriction on religion and relocation centers.
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boy scouts usually provide the color guard for the american flag that floats over the center are typical of the american organization organization. soldiers coming to the center to visit their families, friends, girl scouts, campfire girls, parent-teacher associations and the red cross. the evacuees belong to these organizations and their former homes and transplanted them to the centers. the boy scout drum and bugle corps is leading a harvest festival parade marking the high point of the successful season of farm production. everyone turns up to view the beauty queen. and the really important things
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relocation centers are not normal and probably never can be. loses much of its meaning in the confines of a relocation center. the first people to leave the relocation center were volunteer workers, recruiters to help tend and later to harvest the crop of the western states. almost 1/10 of the evacuees volunteered for this seasonal work in 1942. the result of their labors was a sugar ration for about 10 million people. but work in the beet fields was temporary. most of the people return to the centers. the war relocation authority has
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been more concerned with permanent relocation getting the evacuees out of the back waters of the relocation centers into the mainstream of american life. so their labor can help to win the war. so the cost of the cost of the taxpayers may be reduced. so there can be no question of the constitutionality of any part of the action taken by the government to meet the dangers of war. relocation of the evacuees is not being carried on at the sacrifice of national security. only those evacuees whose statements and whose act leave no question of their loyalty to the united states are permitted to leave. all information available from intelligence agencies is considered. those who were not eligible to leave have been moved to one center to live presumably for the duration of the war. the others established as
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law-abiding aliens or loyal americans are free to go wherever they like. used to operate his own orchard in california. machine work was a hobby. now it's his job. he's make inging -- he has three brothers all in the army the tractor driver here is roy himoto who used to farm near walnut grove, california. this young machinist has learned his trade since he relocated to chicago and his boss says he learned it well.
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he's helping to make kitchen equipment. paints miniature dolls in a midwestern studio. he used to live in california and then lived at the relocation center. in the background, is cecilia meamoto who divides her time between working and attending college. and on the same farm. cultivate potatoes on the farm in the middle west. this is ruth, her father ran a fruit stand in berkeley california and ruth helped him he moved to chicago and has become a skillful operator. this boy liked the printing trade but had no chance to learn
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it until after he left the relocation center. he's helping to print some of the nation's supply of magazines. american eggs are shipped all over the world to americans in the armed forces and to our allies. mary higuchi breaks eggs which are to be dried. and john feeds the drying machine. jim used to be a clerk in california. now he's a candy maker in chicago. american flags some of them for the armed forces are turned out by mrs. abe. she hopes one of the flags she makes may some day be carried in triumph down the streets of tokyo. the produce business in watsonville, california, used to be home to these boys. now they're in the produce business in denver. and he used to be a former in fresno california, from the
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relocation center, he moved to the middle west to make marshmallows marshmallows. oats in the midwest is a new experience for he who used to grow vegetables in california. an artificial leg doesn't interfere with the way he handles a pitch fork. this young fellow, operating a book binding machine is typical of the evacuees who are adjusting to new communities getting along with their employers, fellow workers and neighbors and finding satisfaction in becoming self-supporting once more. the americanism of the great majority of america's great japanese finds the highest expression in the thousands who are in the united states army. almost half of them are in a japanese/american combat team created by order of the secretary of war early in 1943. some of the volunteers came from hawaii, some from the eastern part of the united states mainland where there was no mass evacuation. hundreds of them volunteered
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while they were in relocation centers. volunteered to fight against the militarism and oppression of japan and germany. they know what they're fighting against and they know what they're fighting for. their country and for the american ideals that are part of their upbringing. democracy, freedom, equality of opportunity. regardless of race, creed or ancestry. providing reparations of $20,000 to each surviving detain, formally acknowledged that
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executive order 9066 was unjust and apologized on behalf of the american people. >> american history tv prime time continues in a moment with a look at japanese internment during world war ii. coming up, lectures in history and course on how the press handled the japanese internment. that will be followed by american artifacts taking you through the japanese-american national museum. and then norman minetta who spent time in an internment camp with his family. >> here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. saturday morning starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern live on c-span, our nation's governors get together to discuss issues affecting their states.

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